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All About Assistive Listening Devices

In Assistive listening devices, Hearing Loss by Dr. Robert Hooper Au.D.

Assistive Listening Devices, or ALDs, give your hearing experience a little extra amplification when hearing aids aren’t enough. They are useful in challenging hearing situations when there is lots of extra noise, or it’s a large space – or both! At Ear-Tronics, we can help you out with ALDs. Let us make sure your hearing aids are functioning correctly, or if you don’t have hearing aids, let us do a hearing evaluation for you. ALDs are NOT meant to take the place of hearing aids, but, as we said, supply an extra amplification boost when needed.

Some special situations when ALDs would be helpful include listening to a conversation on the phone, watching television, watching a theater performance or listening to a speaker in a public hall or classroom – even making sure you hear the alarm clock or the doorbell. Some ALDs work with your hearing aids and some are stand-alone devices.

Amplified Telephones

These phones are designed for people with hearing loss and they allow you to turn up the volume to a level you find necessary to understand speech clearly. They also make it easier to hear high-pitched sounds – the sounds that drop out of your hearing range when you begin to experience hearing loss. These phones also likely have louder ring tones so you won’t miss a phone call.

They are available in both landline and mobile models and they come with additional features such as caller ID, voicemail, headset options and speaker phone functions. They can be helpful for people who, in addition to hearing loss, also have some vision issues. They come with backlit keypads, photo dialing and large number keys.

If you would find a more portable option to be more helpful, a phone amplifier might be your best option. Amplifiers can be attached to your existing phone. In-line amplifiers are compatible with digital as well as analog phones and can be useful for individuals with moderate to severe hearing loss. There are also portable amplifiers for people with mild hearing loss and they can amply an average phone call by up to 30 decibels.

Hearing Aid Compatible Phones

In 1988, legislation mandated that phone manufacturers make phone models that are compatible with hearing aids. Hearing aid compatibility is accomplished either by acoustic or telecoil coupling.

Acoustic coupling amplifies the sounds from a phone as well as the sounds around it. Telecoil coupling requires your hearing aid to be equipped with a telecoil – a feature that only picks up and amplifies the phone signal. Telecoils in hearing aids are very useful for people with more advanced hearing loss because background noise is blocked out during a phone call. They are very helpful for people who spend a significant amount of time on the phone.

Assistive Listening Devices for Televisions

Hearing loss shouldn’t mean you can’t enjoy your favorite television shows. Turning up the volume is not always the best option, because it can distort the sound and make it even more difficult to understand.  It’s also not the best option if you are watching television with other people.

Many of the new hearing aids are equipped with wireless capabilities to allow you to adjust the volume and stream it directly to your hearing aids using Bluetooth enabled accessories. You will be able to have the volume at a level that is good for you and those around you can watch at a volume acceptable to them.  Hearing aids with a telecoil can be coupled with a neck loop or induction loop to help improve the clarity level of television sound. Closed captioning might also be an option when you are watching television.

FM Systems

People with hearing loss have some of their biggest issues with background noise. As you might expect, restaurants, large public venues even classrooms, can be very challenging spaces. The FM system can help. The person speaking wears a transmitter microphone and the receiver is used by the hearing aid wearer. This means the speech signal is delivered directly to individuals wearing hearing aids. Many speakers routinely use FM systems and they are also widely used in schools to help hearing impaired children.

Alerting Devices

Alerting devices keep you connected to the world around you and also keep you safer. They use amplified sounds or visual cues to accomplish their tasks. Some examples of alerting devices include vibrating alarm clocks, doorbell alerts that use flashing lights and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors that vibrate or use flashing lights to get your attention.


The professional staff at Ear-Tronics stands ready to help you with hearing evaluation, help you adjust to your hearing aids or provide information and help if you need ALDs.